Local units ‘not ready yet’ to run secondary schoolsThe Constitution of Nepal might have authorised the local governments to manage school education till grade 12, the local level units are not in a position to take charge immediately due to lack of human resources and required expertise.
The Constitution of Nepal might have authorised the local governments to manage school education till grade 12, the local level units are not in a position to take charge immediately due to lack of human resources and required expertise.
The schedule eight of the statute, which defines the absolute authority of the local government, says the local level units can manage basic (1-8) and secondary (9-12) levels. However, two amendments made to the Education Act-1972 since the promulgation of the constitution has delegated the local governments authority to manage only upto grade eight.
While the recently elected representatives of the local governments are obliged to take up the responsibility under the existing provision in the Education Act, they are still in a transitional phase and they fear it would be an uphill task. “We neither have adequate officials nor expertise at the moment to handle education up to grade 12. We will gradually expand our jurisdiction as per the constitutional provision,” Kathmandu Metropolitan City Mayor Bidhya Sundar Shakya told the Post.
Shakya said that it would take the metropolis at least a couple of years to manage education up to the secondary level. The Local Level Governance Act envisions an education committee under the chairperson of the local level unit for coordination in managing school level education. Similarly, each local unit will have an education unit, headed by a section officer in the rural municipality and an under-secretary at municipality, for managing the administrative works. The Department of Education, which had empowered the local level units to provide salaries for the teachers in their areas, asked the subordinate offices last week to support the local level governments to conduct the grade eight examinations scheduled for March next year. This means the examinations of classes above grade eight will still be conducted by the existing mechanism of the central government.
The eighth amendment to the Education Act authorises the Central Examination Board (CEB) to conduct the examinations of grade 10 and above. Its provincial offices will hold the Secondary School Examination after grade 10, while the grade 12 board exam will be administered by the central body.
Education experts say the local level governments might face challenges in managing education up to grade 12 which has so far been handled by the central government. They suggest that the local governments need to be empowered before being passed on with the responsibility. “This is a gradual process. The efforts now should be in empowering the local government in taking charge the statute bestows upon them,” said Basu Dev Kafle, an education expert.